The sudden stoppage of its dairy products processing during the recent lockdowns has affected the milk-feeding program of preschoolers in Barangay Irawan, according to the government-run Dairy Farm Puerto Princesa.
Officer-in-charge and senior science specialist Ariel Colongon said Friday that the quarantine controls implemented since March 15 suspended the production of milk products such as fresh and chocolate milk and ice cream.
“We enforced the skeleton forces. We stopped the processing or the production of milk product, fresh milk, choco milk, ice cream, and others. Noong hininto namin ‘yon, meron din kaming mga program na na-stop. Before the lockdown, we do the milk-feeding program in Brgy. Irawan among the preschoolers, ‘yong malnourished students,” he said.
The Dairy Production and Development Center of the regional agriculture department which is also known as Dairy Farm in Irawan is under the supervision of the National Dairy Authority (NDA), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Malungkot nga isipin na nasa peak na sana tayo ng ating program, may mga na-observe tayo na magagandang performance ng mga bata, gumanda na ang kanilang records, sa weight kaya lang nag-lockdown. Sa ngayon we hope we can restart it again in July,” he said.
The local dairy farm was supplying dairy cattle milk to children with ages from two to five years old.
Once the operation of the farm resumes, he said that they also planning to saturate other barangays of the city in the milk-feeding program.
He said that the farm operation continued even as the province remained under quarantine controls and only the market development of their dairy products was affected.
The Dairy Farm management said it will resume the processing of dairy products by the month of July. Colongon said that they will also reopen the farm to the visitors.
As they reopen the farm to the public in July, Colongon said that they will still follow the minimum health protocols regulated by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) such as maintaining the physical distancing, wearing face masks, establishing washing area and foot baths and securing their logbook for the records of guests visiting the farm for tracking purposes.
“Mababa lang naman ang ating revenue sa gatas gawa ng hindi naman talaga massive ang ating production. We are just showcasing the technology to encourage livestock farming and other stakeholders na i-adapt ang technology natin. Iyon ang pinaka-purpose na i-showcase ang technology from production, pasture development and processing,” he said.
Colongon said that they encountered problems with feed supply coming from Batangas to Manila before delivering to Puerto Princesa as transportation means were suspended during the first implementation of quarantine control on March 15.
“Noong nawala yon, after two months, saka natin na-regain ‘yong supply, noong nagkaroon na tayo ng MGCQ status na pinayagan na yong cargo vehicle na magkakarga ng inputs, hindi lang feeds pati inputs,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said that they are still coordinating with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to still continue the program to also promote the carabao development program in the province.